Mookie Betts will return to the infield.
Betts will play second base “fairly regularly” down the stretch with both Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt sidelined, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Betts was drafted as a second baseman in 2011. He has spent the entire season learning the outfield, and Farrell previously indicated that Boston wanted to avoid putting too much on the rookie’s plate. According to Farrell, the Red Sox still view Betts as an outfielder long-term.
A pair of injuries opened the door for Betts to return to second base. Pedroia is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing successful left thumb/wrist surgery Thursday. Holt, who has been sidelined since last Friday because of illness and neck stiffness, was sent to Pittsburgh to see concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins.
“It’s based on the changes that have taken place to the roster,” Farrell said. “When (Pedroia) went down, Brock was going to get the remainder of the reps at second, but now with that being in question, this is a chance to keep Mookie on the field every day.”
Betts’ move to second base also eliminates a potential logjam once recently signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo joins the Red Sox. Castillo currently is playing with Triple-A Pawtucket in the PawSox’s Governors’ Cup series against the Durham Bulls. The 27-year-old is expected to join the big league club after Pawtucket’s season wraps up, at which point he’ll split time in center field with Jackie Bradley Jr.
Betts is hitting .280 with four homers, 11 RBIs, five stolen bases and an .805 OPS in 36 games with the Red Sox this season.